Choice Hotels 1998 Annual Report - Highlights

Here, There and Everywhere

Choice continued its leadership in the U.S. lodging industry in 1998 with 3,039 hotels open and 866 under development under the brand names Comfort, Quality, Clarion, Sleep Inn, Econo Lodge, Rodeway Inn and MainStay Suites.

It was a year of honors and tributes as the editors of Entrepreneur magazine named Choice the top lodging franchisor of the year, Consumer Reports recognized the Sleep Inn brand as the nation's top budget chain and Success magazine rated the Comfort and Quality brands among the top franchises.

A highlight of the year was the launch of the Guest Privileges frequent-stay program, designed to generate repeat business and build loyalty with existing customers by awarding points that can be redeemed for room nights, gift certificates and vacations in exotic destinations.

Choice Atlantica Hotels, master franchisor for Choice in most of South America, announced plans to develop 140 Comfort, Quality, Clarion and Sleep Inn hotels during the next five years beginning with three hotels in Brazil (starting with a 117-room property in Sao Paulo).

Nicholas Brady, former U.S. Treasury secretary who recently was named vice chairman of the Choice Atlantica board, explained the decision, saying the "growing volume of international business travelers to markets throughout the continent is boosting demand for high-quality, reputable, well-run hotels."

For the third consecutive year, Choice Hotels Canada was named the Hotel Chain of the Year by the North West Commercial Travelers' Association of Canada.

Friendly Hotels, Choice's master franchisor for western Europe, announced plans to develop 750 hotels within the next decade. At year's end, the Choice Hotels Europe portfolio included 241 hotels open and 41 under development in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Switzerland, Portugal and Spain.

Choice Hotels Europe launched its own frequent-stay program, the Favoured Guest Card, which awards one free night for 10 paid stays at its hotels in the United Kingdom, Ireland and France.

Choice Hotels Scandinavia consolidated its formidable position in Sweden, Norway and Denmark by integrating hotels acquired as a result of the previous year's acquisition of the Inter-Nor, Home Hotels and Eurostop hotel groups. At year's end the master franchisor's portfolio stood at 84 hotels and one under development.

Choice's own direct development will continue to focus on key cities in the Middle East, Mediterranean countries and major African destinations

Choice formed a strategic alliance with Flag International Limited to create the largest hotel franchising company in Australia. At year's end, the new Flag Choice Hotels organization included 537 hotels in Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Papua New Guinea. The Quality brand is now the leading mid-market hotel product in New Zealand.

Quality and Clarion brand hotels are targeted for major gateway locations that are fast-growing and supported by business travel.


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